Written by Doug Apple, Wave94 Friday, 19 November 2010 11:15
I almost didn’t go to church last night.
Yesterday I had a dentist appointment and I did not leave there singing “Joy to the World.”
He had to replace an old filling in my very back tooth and I think he had to climb in to get to it.
He started by sticking a needle in the back of my mouth a few times, poke-poke-poke, “Come on!”
Then I heard this. I’m not saying it happened. I’m just saying I heard it. He ejected the cartridge from the needle. Like a bullet casing, it clattered on the floor in slow motion, and he reloaded for another round – poke-poke-poke, “Come…on!”
Then he left me alone to get numb, but I never really did. He said it’s hard to get that part of the mouth numb sometimes, so he reloaded and riddled my mouth with more needle holes.
It never did get very numb, but he fired up the drill anyway and oh…my…goodness.
“Did that hurt?”
“You don’t like me very much right now, do you?”
At one point my legs involuntarily dropped to the side of the chair as if my body was demanding, “It’s time to go!”
Well he finished the job and everything was cool, but my mouth felt like it had taken a beating. It would hardly open, and I didn’t eat all day.
Then it was time to go to church. I really didn’t feel like going, but then a little voice in my head said, “Don’t be pathetic.”
So I walked into the church and the music was already playing. My son-in-law was leading, and he was singing one of my favorite songs.
I was immediately glad to be there. The song quickly drew me into worship, and I felt humbled and grateful to God.
Then the pastor announced that a couple of young people would be baptized. The youth pastor introduced them and asked them to say something to the congregation.
The young lady spoke first and said that God had been speaking to her, saying things like, “There’s a better way. There’s a better life. There’s a better way to live. There’s a happier way to live.” So she gave her life to Christ, was baptized last night, and her final words were, “I want to publicly declare that I want to have life in Him.”
Then it was the young man’s turn, and he was quite shy about talking in front of so many people. The youth pastor even asked if he wanted to turn his back to the audience, but no, he was willing to go ahead, and he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. He had actually taken time to write down what he wanted to say.
Early in his life he had toyed with alcohol and drugs. Then his parents got divorced, and he said, “I just hit an all time low and started drinking every single time I got depressed, to the point where I started thinking, ‘If I wasn’t here, what would people do? Nobody would care if I just went away.’”
Then he had surgery and started taking Percocet. And he was smoking marijuana and drinking even more. But then – now listen to this – he said he would go to church. And he noticed that when he went to church he would feel better about himself.
Then some young people at the church started a Bible study at his high school, and through that, and through those young men helping him, he was able to stop smoking, stop drinking, and even stop cursing. And now he was ready to be baptized and publicly declare his faith in Jesus Christ.
A wave of excitement ran over the audience and people applauded after hearing these powerful testimonies of young lives transformed by Christ.
And I pondered those closing words of the young woman: “I want to have life in Him.”
It reminds me of something Jesus said to His enemies in John 5:40. He said, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
Jesus is offering life to all who will come to Him. Those young people discovered that, and now they are experiencing that life, and the hope and the peace and the direction.
And Jesus offers that to everyone. Everyone can come to Him for life. You can come to him for life.
As I stood there, hearing those testimonies and watching those young people be baptized, I thought, “This is what it’s all about. It’s about lives being transformed by the real and living Jesus Christ.”
And to think . . . I almost didn’t go to church last night.
E-mail me: email@example.com.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
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